Is the low price of DIY kinetic sand worth the mess?

Is the low cost of DIY kinetic sand worth the mess? {Heather's Handmade Life}

Clay and sculpting dough are fun for a while, and so is driving toy trucks around in a bin of rice. But the latest sensory activity involves moldable sand designed for indoor play.

I’d been tempted to pick up packages of kinetic sand, but it’s usually $15 for a very small package. It seemed overpriced. There are plenty of recipes floating around online, so I decided to try making it for a fraction of the cost — about $3 for nine cups.

Is the low cost of DIY kinetic sand worth the mess? {Heather's Handmade Life}

Here’s how you can make your own kinetic sand:

  1. Get a big bowl, and scoop in nine cups of flour. If you have multiple kids begging for turns, divide up the cups accordingly to prevent fights.
  2. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of baby oil. The original recipe I found called for 1 1/4 cups but I found it needed a little extra oil. Plus, it’s easy to tell each kid to pour 3/4 cup, and I like easy math.
  3. Mix it all together with your hands. We tried a spoon at first, but it really takes kneading to combine the flour and oil. If it’s too dry, pour in some more baby oil — it smells so nice!
Is the low cost of DIY kinetic sand worth the mess? {Heather's Handmade Life}

Once the sand had a good consistency, I divided it into two bowls and let the kids play with it.

Is the low cost of DIY kinetic sand worth the mess? {Heather's Handmade Life}

We also used a rectangular baking pan so they could spread it out and build. We didn’t have any sand sculpting toys, but a few plastic lunch containers worked OK for making castles and towers.

Is the low cost of DIY kinetic sand worth the mess? {Heather's Handmade Life}

The kids played with the sand happily for a couple of hours, on and off, and we saved it in an airtight container for future use — it’ll last a month.

But … I think now is the point where we talk about the mess? Oh dear, the mess.

We do a lot of crafts and even more baking, but this project was the most frustrating mess I’ve ever cleaned up. I’m not sure what I was expecting, really, because even traces of sand from the neighbour’s sandbox seem to track all through the house.

Is the low cost of DIY kinetic sand worth the mess? {Heather's Handmade Life}

The powdery sand was in every crack of the hardwood floor, every crevice of the table and chairs, and totally coating the kids’ clothes — which, of course, meant it was soon all over the place.

It took a lot of sweeping and wiping to get it all cleaned up, and I may have muttered something about never, ever playing with that cursed sand again.

I felt some of the “real” kinetic sand at the craft store a few days later, and I must admit it’s probably worth the steep price. The store-bought sand is soft and pliable, and probably far less messy. You’d still need to sweep well after using it, but you wouldn’t be wiping up drips of baby oil, patches of flour and crumbly clumps of sand.

We’ll play with our homemade sand again soon, but I have a feeling we’ll be trying it outdoors this time.

Is the low cost of DIY kinetic sand worth the mess? {Heather's Handmade Life}

So what do you think?

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